February 15, 2012 08:00 ET

Consumers Pay Down Debt, According to

Credit Scores Increase for the First Time Since April 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Feb 15, 2012) -, the consumer's credit advocate, today released its U.S. Credit Score Climate Report with trend data for January 2012. Credit card debt fell eight percent nationally since December to $6,069. In fact, every state paid down their credit card debt this month with the exception of Wisconsin, which increased its credit card debt by four percent to $5,266.

"The reduction in debt is not surprising," said Ken Lin, CEO of "As with the start of any new year, consumers are vowing to get their finances in order and decrease debt after the glut of holiday spending."

Since last month, the average consumer credit score increased one point to 661 nationally, marking the first time since April 2011 that credit scores have increased.

In January 2012, the average consumer with an account had:

  • $168,101 in home mortgage debt -- down three percent since December
  • $46,330 in home equity debt -- down three percent since December
  • $15,112 in auto loans -- down 2.5 percent since December
  • $25,257 in student loan debt -- down four percent since December

Other key findings include:

  • People tend to hold onto their student loan debt. It peaks at $27,000 for 25-44 year olds, but adults 65+ with student loans still owe an average of $25,000.

  • Arkansas ($5,179), Nebraska ($5,738), Iowa ($5,866), South Dakota ($5,935) and West Virginia ($5,110) paid down their credit card debt the most by 18, 17, 16, 15 and 15 percent respectively.

  • Buying a house in Silicon Valley or San Francisco will cost you the most -- the average mortgage holder owes $442,000 and $426,000, respectively. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the average West Virginian holds less than $100,000 of mortgage debt.

  • Wisconsin ($12,742), Oregon ($13,073), Minnesota ($13,160), Michigan ($13,268) and Rhode Island ($13,273) have the least amount of auto loan debt.

Each month, the U.S. Consumer Credit Score Climate Report compares the current credit scores of its user base with previous scores pulled at least 30 days prior and no more than 90 days prior to the stated month. This month's report includes a comparison of more than 376,966 user scores.

About provides more than 4 million consumers with free credit scores and access to free credit monitoring to help them realize the everyday cost savings of having good credit by offering personalized savings recommendations for credit cards, student, auto, mortgage and home equity loans. It also provides financial education and access to free tools that empower consumers to take charge of their financial health including the Credit Report Card, Credit Score Simulator and Credit Card Statistics. To learn more, visit

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